Community Blogs

Unity & Solidarity Integral to Indepet Vision

Founding Chair, Matthew Kane puts the case for solidarity around a single vision that unites all Indepet Shareholders on both sides of the Tasman.

As a fast-growing group of independent retailers now scattered across two countries, I believe unity and solidarity will be our biggest challenge through our next wave of growth. As independents, it’s likely that we all differ greatly on how we see the future. Many of us have deeply held views and strident opinions on all sorts of issues.

However, I believe we are all professional enough to realise that the Indepet group will only succeed if we subdue some of that individuality and truly embrace the team ethos. Our vision for Indepet must align with that basic concept of team power; of harnessing the collective strengths of our diverse group. And we will only succeed if we put trust in our board and management team to lead us all in a new and more profitable direction. Trust and teamwork will be essential elements of our group success.

While our fierce independence is a great strength of the group, it also has the potential to be our undoing!

Indepet Limited is unlike a corporate franchise. There are no hard and fast rules about what you can or cannot do as an Indepet Shareholder. We all know we are free to run our own retail businesses the way we see fit. That’s a unique feature of the Indepet group.

However, as chair of Indepet, I urge you to bear in mind there is always a cost when you disregard the needs of the wider group.

If for some reason you source product from suppliers – who don’t endorse the Indepet group – you potentially weaken the group’s negotiating power and inflict commercial damage on us all.

I would strongly caution about the damage that undisciplined behaviour can do to the great relationships we have built with our suppliers – some over many years.

So, our vision must be built on the principles of retail professionalism, self- discipline and working for the greater good of all members of the group.

Your board and management certainly recognise the challenges ahead and we are committed to providing leadership on these matters.

However, we also need your support and commitment to make the whole of Indepet greater than the sum of its individual members.


Role of management

Your board and management team have a critical role in providing the leadership, guidance and direction we need as an independent group striving to stay at the forefront of retail professionalism.Our management team especially has an important role in challenging our traditional ways of thinking and bringing fresh perspectives to the independent sector of our industry.

In our first two years, we’ve seen phenomenal progress in the setting up of the new group. But it’s still early days.

Our challenge is to maintain that excellent early momentum and show our suppliers and the wider industry that we are here to stay.

We must work as hard and as fast as we can in these formative years to stay ahead of our competitors.

We must pursue every opportunity for tapping our collective buying and marketing power.

It’s imperative that we present ourselves to the world – and our suppliers in particular – as a single unified group.

A professional group with one central office through which we negotiate with all our key suppliers and wholesalers.


Image and identity

Any discussion about group vision naturally leads to the subject of image, store branding and marketing. These are the visible symbols and messages that identify us as the Indepet group.

On this matter, our management team has developed a dual branding strategy for creating a professional, unified look across our network.

Note that dual branding is now a board directive, and our Shareholder Agreement allows you the use of the company image and intellectual property.

As Shareholders, you have the sole right to use this asset and stand to benefit exclusively from its use and application in your business.

It’s a simple way for you to retain your own name – while strongly associating it with the Indepet logo – to create a seamless and consistent look that can be duplicated around the nation.

The full details of the dual branding strategy are laid down in the style manual developed by Sign Manager, a specialist in this field.

Every scenario for the branding of your business – buildings, badges, clothing or cars – has been anticipated.

While our fierce independence is a great strength of the group, it also has the potential to be our undoing!

This is clearly the strongest recommendation we will ever make on the issue of Indepet branding and we have no doubt it will work for you – provided you do your part to sell it on the benefits – to customers and suppliers

*first published in Inside Indepet September 2012.